Toulouse: the new terrace war

the basics While some managers of bars and restaurants in Toulouse have seen their terrace fully occupied since May 19, others see themselves as poor relatives of a reopening that they perceive as “unequal”.

You sweep it with a broom or a rag. Move some furniture. Some bar or restaurant managers are still feeling the blues of the closure. They watch the spectacle of the customers sitting on the terraces of their competitors. Impatient to greet them in turn.

The hesitant reopening has not satisfied all players in this health crisis-ridden sector. “Only a minority of the companies were able to open, around 30%. The rest have patience. Due to the lack of a terrace or the inability to use it properly, ”recalls Philippe Belot, Vice-President General of the Hotel and Industry Union (UMIH 31).

Terraces have never been so popular. The requests for the extension of the Toulouse town hall are multiplying in order to obtain this sesame. 526 Covid locations were assigned. “We have received more than ten since May 19,” confirms Cécile Dufraisse, assistant to the Capitol for public space occupation.

Passport rights for certain restaurateurs?

In order to be able to settle on the sidewalks of the Pink City, managers must adhere to precise guidelines. Édouard runs a restaurant on one of the streets in the city center. He couldn’t get a terrace because he couldn’t block the street during the service. “We have an inner courtyard, but we can only install eight place settings. I’m open, but I’m not getting my money’s worth, ”he protests. The manager had a hope the day before the reopening: “A city agent told me there would be no worries about the terrace and we could work. We then cooked and filled the fridges. In the morning we learn that in the end it won’t be possible. We had to cancel more than fifteen reservations ”.

He denounces privileges that, in his opinion, “contribute to obtaining a Covid terrace”. Cécile Dufraisse assures him: “There is no inequality between restaurateurs, a calculation is made regarding the allocation. I have this concern in the general interest. Whenever I can give, I give. If the answer to a request to create a Covid terrace is negative, it is because it does not comply with the accessibility rules imposed on us, ”says the elected representative.
On June 9th, the next phase of deconfining, release will be offered to facilities that are still closed. The terraces, considered too small to open without a room reception, will take up the sidewalk a little more.

Who is monitoring the terrace extensions?

The terraces extend over the public area. In order to limit abuses on the part of operations managers, agents are responsible for monitoring them during the day. According to our information, it is not uncommon for certain abuses to be observed. “Plans to extend terraces are not always respected. There are some problems, ”we are told. The city police and also the state police come to intensify this surveillance of the terraces. “Sometimes we make a few small memories. It should be noted that this remains a limited phenomenon. The rules are generally well respected. Then it happens that we don’t have enough time to carry out the various checks, ”says a city policeman. A national police officer admits this is “not the first concern”. “You have to say that the teams are just in time. We need to accelerate the offensives against deal points and delinquency. If there are teams left, they can go to the various areas to carry out checks on the terraces of bars and restaurants.

Angry restaurateur: “Assignment is unfair”

Alain Audiau would have liked more solidarity among restaurateurs so that everyone could work. DDM – ADRIATIC NOWAK

The Chez Navarre restaurant has been installed behind gray glass doors for decades. In this old building from the 16th century with red brick walls and visible beams on the ceiling, the manager Alain Audiau focuses on the “very French” cuisine: he sits in front of one of the wooden tables and drinks a coffee. The manager came with his team this Thursday morning: “We have to move the furniture in order to respect the hygiene protocol,” explains Alain Audiau. We can finally open again next Wednesday ”.

The health crisis plunged this feast into a seven-month deep sleep. This is not what our card is made for. I received about fifteen orders. I would have worked at a loss, ”says the manager. The reopening of the terraces did not wake the restaurant. However, Alain Audiau made a bet: “I applied for a Covid terrace. The town hall granted it to me. I can only install 8 place settings… ”he complains.

The manager denounces an “unfair terrace award”. “My neighbor already had a terrace. The extension that the city assigned him is much larger than my new terrace. Why does the town hall prefer those who already have one to the detriment of others? That’s not fair, ”storms Alain Audiau.

The manager has also sent a letter to the Prefect, Mayor, President of the Region and the Department covering the attribution of “these famous Covid terraces”. He points to “political affinities or sensitivities” that would have been decisive in certain ascriptions. “I ask for justice. I have always fought for it. People are afraid to utter disturbing sentences.”

For Cécile Dufraisse, deputy mayor in charge of the public area, “the allocation of this terrace enables all the rules to be respected.” “In the past, the director of Chez Navarre did not have a terrace. We made an installation possible. We have also made the terrace of a restaurant smaller. There is no such thing as a privilege, ”continues the chosen one. A few days before the reopening, Alain Audiau fears that he has lost part of his clientele during the lengthy shutdown.

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